An NHS trust has apologized to hundreds of families whose relatives caught Covid-19 and died in hospital, after a review found that a lack of private rooms contributed to the spread of the virus.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn, Norfolk has reviewed all 389 cases of patients who definitely or probably contracted COVID during their hospital stay between March 2020 and February this year. Of these, 151 patients died.
The Trust is the only NHS trust to have conducted a full and transparent review of hospital-acquired COVID-19 infections, with staff speaking with each family to understand their concerns and views.
The issue of Covid-19 spreading in hospitals is believed to be a major contributor to the total number of infections. The government’s SEZ committee papers have estimated that 20 to 25 percent of Covid cases were caught in the hospital during the first wave.
The QEH Trust sent letters by recorded delivery informing families that their relative had caught COVID in the hospital and included an apology. The letters were then followed up with a phone call within 48 hours. A dedicated helpline has also been set up for direct communication with the families. In some cases, staff caring for affected patients were able to talk to families and respond to any concerns.
The trust published a report on Friday which concluded that many infections were caused by the lack of private rooms to isolate patients. Only 10 percent of hospitals’ beds are located in side rooms, meaning many patients had to be cared for in open wards where infections could spread more easily.
The trust also acknowledged problems with communication with families during the height of the crisis, when patients were not allowed visitors. During the pandemic it created a new role called the Family Liaison Officer to be able to talk with patients and families and share concerns and information with doctors and nurses.
Nine family liaison officers have also been able to help patients, even doing grocery shopping for relatives at home. Trust’s chief nurse Alice Webster told Granthshala This new role will be expanded in the light of the review.
She said all families were offered a copy of the report and a meeting with the staff if they wished.
“We are really sorry for these families because we know this has been incredibly difficult,” she said.
She said it was inevitable that some patients without COVID were cared for in wards with those with the virus, while the trust followed official advice and took precautions to keep COVID patients away from others.
“Ten percent of our assets are side rooms and the situation meant that we were caring for patients in open wards in bays of four or six,” he said, adding: “There were elements of poor communication where we kept patients in a bay. were being taken from place to place. Others. Relatives didn’t always know where a loved one was.”
She said the process has been positive for the trust and families and added that she felt other NHS trusts should follow suit: “We have to be honest with people.”
The report, available on the Trust’s website, said: “Most (over 50 percent) of patients and their families contacted as part of the Trust’s Candor exercise reported that they had no concerns or problems and were grateful.” And appreciate the care they have received.”
Those who had concerns said: “Individuals reported not being able to see their loved one and all too often having a hard time knowing what was going on in the ward. Some spoke very negatively about the number of moves they made during our care, often moving from ward to ward and on occasions having multiple moves for an individual patient, which was a matter of concern and unacceptable. was practice.
“Currently, only 10% of our patients are able to receive care in the side room and coziness with the physical environment of the hospital poses a very significant challenge to the delivery of optimal care. As a result, unfortunately, many for some individual patients Steps were taken as the organization coped with the changing number and acuity of patients.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /